Solemnity is expected at any funeral service. Behaving in an appropriate manner conveys your respect for the decedent and the mourning family. But if you've never been to a funeral before, it's easy to commit etiquette mistakes inadvertently. Before you depart for the funeral home, take a few minutes to remind yourself of appropriate behaviors.
Avoiding the Receiving Line
One common mistake is to enter a funeral home for a visitation and to immediately take a seat to reflect upon the decedent's life. The appropriate etiquette is to join the line of mourners. It's customary for each mourner or couple to pause before the casket for a few moments. Some may choose to kneel and pray, but this is not necessary. After paying your respects, continue past the casket to the family members in the receiving line. Shake their hands or give them hugs if you know them well. Express your condolences and perhaps say a few words about how you knew the decedent. Then, you may take a seat or join others in quiet conversation.
Wearing Inappropriate Clothing
The traditional rule of wearing an all-black outfit to a funeral has been relaxed in recent years, but it's still important to dress in a formal manner. Wear dark, modest clothing that does not call attention to yourself. Choose minimal makeup and jewelry, and wear closed-toe shoes.
Forgetting to Turn Off a Cellphone
It's best if you leave your cellphone and other electronic gadgets in the car. If you bring them inside with you, it's essential that you turn them off first. You should never take out your cellphone to check for messages or missed calls while you're inside the funeral home, house of worship, or cemetery.
Skylawn Funeral Home and Memorial Park provides compassionate services to families who have lost a loved one and to those who are pre-planning their funeral needs. At our funeral home in San Mateo, we work closely with each family to ensure the funeral service exceeds expectations. You can reach a funeral director at (650) 349-4411.